Dutch retail group Laurus has said its 2004 sales were “disappointing”, and said it would focus on renewing store formats and improving store operation in 2005.

The company said 2004 net sales were €3.45bn (US$4.47bn), compared to €3.81bn in 2003, which contained 52 weeks rather than the 53 weeks in 2004. Laurus said the market was “extremely competitive”.

Total like-for-like consumer sales (based on 52 weeks) for its Edah, Konmar Superstores and Super de Boer banners were down 8.2% compared with 2003.

The company is in the process of renovating its stores. The renewal process was started in 2004 at the Edah and Super de Boer stores, but the remodelled stores were not operational for long enough to reverse the downward trend in total sales, Laurus said.

The decline in sales was most evident at the old-style Edah stores that have not yet been converted to Edah Lekker & Laag stores. Sales were higher at the 40 stores that were converted to the Edah Lekker & Laag format in the third and fourth quarters of 2004. A further 15 stores will be converted over the next three months.

Laurus expects to invest approximately €263–273m in the renewal of its store formats up to the end of 2006.